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Anxious gatekeeping

Analogous to nervous cluelessness is something we might call “anxious gatekeeping.”   This is desire to police the borders of poetry, or of...

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Love, mirth, praise, constancy

Mary Oliver was asked what her favorite words were and answered with those. This is interesting to me because she is really answering with her favorite concepts. She likes the meanings of those words. How do I know this? I don't, really, but all those words are names for virtues one might like to have. Love is great, but the word love, not so much. Mirth is a little better, because it has a kind of pungency to it, the quick vowel slowed down by two consonants. Praise is ok with its long and sweet vowel and voiced sibilant at the end. It has some power, Constancy is just awful. It's a really ugly word for what could be a beautiful concept. It is ungainly.

I think greasy is good word, because it feels greasy in your mouth. Celery is nice, with liquids and sibilance, cucumber with its internal alliteration and its cool visual look. You might ask another poet for favorite words and get words that interesting as words.

I'm not saying you have to like the same words I do. That would be strange. But appreciating them for how cool they sound or look, is that too much to ask?

2 comments:

Andrew Shields said...

Mellifluous is one of my favorites.

Leslie said...

I should think up some favorite words in English. In Spanish, I like:

vil
ruin
monserga

In Portuguese:
embora
ainda

In Catalan:
encara
gaire, and the expression "non pas gaire"

I wonder what this Rorschach test shows